Reading is a daily thing in our home, as is recycling and creating. So when I was asked if I could put a tutorial together on how to create your own bilingual book, I was ecstatic. I then gathered the materials (and kids) needed to start our project. This is what we came up with.
Nothing fancy. It is made by children after all, but isn't that what makes it that much more special? The older the child gets the more intricate the work, details, and writing will be.
Make Your Book:
Creating a book is a lot easier than it looks. It is also a perfect and a fun way for your little one to practice reading in both languages (or one).
What you'll need:
• an empty cereal box
• 5 sheets of white printer paper
• sewing machine and thread (other options available)
• markers, crayons, colored pencils
• stamps and ink
First, cut out the larger part of your cereal box. This will be your book cover.
Then use it as a template to size and crop your 5 sheets of white paper. You want the white paper to be slightly smaller than the cover.
Fold your cover and paper (at the same time) in half. Then if you have a clip available, clip one of the ends together. This will help hold all the sheets and cover in place while you sew a line across the center. Use the fold line as your guide.
If you don't have a sewing machine other options to bind your book can be: stapling the center together, or hole-punch about four holes on the edge of the fold and then run ribbon or yarn through the holes. Make sure to knot the ends.
Write Your Story:
Now it is time to write your story! What to write? Well, that will depend on the age of your child and what their interests are at the time. In our case, my five-year-old son is really into animals right now. So we decided to make a book about animals.
First, I wrote out the title and by-line page.
Because he is still learning to read in both English and Spanish, I decided to do the writing for him. I wrote simple three-word sentences. I chose black ink for the words in Spanish and blue ink for those in English.
Then he drew a picture that went along with each sentence.
For my three-year-old daughter, I wrote one word per page, both in English and in Spanish (also using different colors per language) and drew the pictures for her. All she had to do was color them in.
Once the inside of the book was completed, we then decorated the cover with stamps. How much supervision you need with each child will also depend on their age. I allowed my son free range on how he wanted his front cover decorated, but my daughter, on the other hand, needed my help.
Again, the older your child is the more detailed his/her book will be and the less involved you will be in the book-making process (in fact, if your child can sew, you can let him/her bind the book). If your child does not know what to write about, give him/her some topic ideas. The important thing is to encourage creativity in both their writing and art.
Book cover finished? Then you are done!
Have fun together reading your child's creation over and over again!
Lisa Renata is a US-born Latina who experienced Mexican culture first-hand when she lived there as a child. Lisa is a book lover, a mama raising her two kids bilingual, and a crafter.. with a camera always in her hands. You can often find her interpreting and testing for the local school district ESOL program or making new items for her Etsy shop SaborCajeta.